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A Game of Thrones- George RR Martin :7/52 (Book made into TV Series)

Phew!

What a book to come out of your reader’s block with. I was so prejudiced against this genre all these days, I felt that fantasy was something childish and silly and so I stayed away from anything related to this series. But then Flipkart keeps making you these offers you can’t refuse. So I just went ahead and bought the whole bunch of books telling myself that since I spent so much money on them, I’ll force myself to read atleast one. Atleast one? Hah. I so surprised myself. Well, I still don’t consider it ‘fantasy’. I’m taking it as historical fiction or something like that. Even the Mahabarata, if it had been written today, would be considered ‘fantasy’. So with an open mind (something that is so difficult for me), I started reading. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 17. And before I knew it, I was in sucked deep into Jon and Catelyn and Bran’s lives, burning midnight oil, alternating between the fat physical book and my Kindle, getting all twitchy eyed. And since the TV series maniacs are throwing spoilers all over the place,I must hurry up and finish the rest of the books soon. And I’m trying not to start watching the TV series until I finish the books because I’m sure it will spoil the books for me. (Edit: Watched two episodes already while this post was in the drafts folder:/) ‘Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime.’ Just picturing a landscape so stark and cold and endless was overwhelming. Places and words that paint vivid pictures in your mind. ( Edit: And they were pictured as beautifully as I imagined them in the TV series). The Wall where the world ends and another dangerous world begins beyond, a place where men find honour when they have no other choice left in the real world. Kingsroad, maybe the national highways of Westeros. Sky cells, doorless prisons on mountains that overlook endlessness. Godswoods. Winterfell, Kings Landing and the Red Keep.  Direwolves. And on the other side, The Narrow Sea, girls with golden hair and silver horses, savages with braided hair. Dragons and dragon eggs. It was a magical book. I haven’t actually bonded with any of the characters yet. Ofcourse, I like The Imp because he is grey. And on a lower scale, Lord Varys and Littlefinger. They are the ones that I haven’t figured out yet. Eddard Stark was too righteous for me, and his wife Catelyn too wasn’t all that likable. Too good. Sansa, someone I’d love to slap to death along with Joffery.  Cersei and Jaime Lannister, so evil that I want to take their side.  If I had to choose a character to really like, I’d choose Jon Snow.

I’ve got a mountain ahead of me. But looks like it is going to be one epic climb.

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Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy. A name that evokes extreme emotions. You either hate her or love her, there’s nothing in between. And you either hate the people who love her or love the people who hate her. Again, nothing in between. But my love for Arundhati Roy began long before she won the Booker (and the wrath of some people for ‘vulgarity’ in That Book), long before she called Maoists Gandhians with Guns, long before she said that Kashmir wasn’t an integral part of India, long before she wrote those pages and pages of essays about everything from dams to ‘alleged’ terrorists. My love for her began in a gentler time, simpler time. In one of those long lazy summer afternoons when I used sprawl out in the sunshine on the verandah and read Target, that magazine that shaped the childhoods of the 80s kids. (The silly puns we make on Twitter were made decades ago in the Ha Ha pages of Target.)

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So one month, in an article which would now probably appear in some listicle as ’10 Multitasking Superheros who hold 5 jobs’  or something as lame, there was this feature about Arundhati Roy. She was an ‘Aerobics instructor who is also an actress, scriptwriter and something else that I don’t rememember clearly’.But she was four things in that feature. And in that black an white photograph that accompanied the writeup, she was the Rahel I would see many many years later. In that interview she spoke about how her mother Mary Roy fought for property rights of married Syrian Christian women. About how her mother started the Corpus Christi school and how since she was the first student of the school that followed no traditional syllabus, she had read Macbeth before she was 10 years old. Macbeth, which again, Rahel and Estha would quote in That Book. She spoke about her dog, Kuttapan Patti Swami Om Prakash. Google doesn’t throw up any results for that name, but I know that it isn’t a figment of my childhood imagination because I remember almost chanting the name because it had that zingy ring to it (Yawn, yes. Like Rahel and Estha chanted Nictating ictating tating ating ting, but inside my head.) That dog would become Khubchand. She was the dropout architect whom I would picture  Rahel as many years later. No, there was no Velutha or Baby Kochamma in that interview. And no, because That Book isn’t exactly autobiographical. She spoke about the script she wrote for In which Annie Gives It Those Ones and how Annie was actually a grubby guy named Anand. ( Since it is out here, I must watch this atleast now). And about her aerobics. And whatever other things that could be fit into that one page feature about her.

And that was when I fell in love with Arundhati Roy.

Arundhati Roy:  Aerobics Instructor, actress, scriptwriter, could-have-been-architect and Something-else-I-Can’t-Remember. Arundhati Roy: Soon to be Booker prize winning, Maoist sympathising, Gandhi-hating, dam-damning,terrorist-supporting, seditious anti-national.

Yes. I can say for sure that I had a girlcrush on her decades before girlcrush became an actual word. She is one of those people I never question. Maybe she has impractical dreams in this practical world. Maybe she only sees problems and doesn’t offer solutions. Maybe she dares to voice her support for people who shouldn’t be supported. Maybe. Maybe not. But I am an unashamed fan, follower, groupie, call-it-what-you want of hers. And yes, you can hate me for that.

Ok. Now why this post? I’ve been suffering from reader’s block for the past couple of months and even though I’ve started five books, I still haven’t been able to finish even one. Last week, a friend (finally) read The God of Small Things and wrote this two point review of the book that said it all. And so I picked up the book. Again. And I am rediscovering the book. Again. Woman, release your next work of fiction soon. We’re waiting.

2015 Reading Challenge

Ok. So let’s see how this works out. @iashcn shared this challenge on Twitter and I found it on Goodreads too. I managed my 2014 challenge comfortably, but this seems a little more difficult because I’m listing specific books here.  But no pressure. This is just a list. Of placeholders.

1.   Book with 500+ pages- Wolf Hall. It needs to be removed from On Hold and be done with.
2.  Classic romance – Pride and Prejudice. Yeah. The real thing.
3.  Book that became a movie – Twelve Years a Slave. Caught the movie. Now I have to read the        book.
4.  Book published this year (2015) – I’m waiting for Arundhati Roy’s next. Hope it comes out in              2015
5.  Book with a number in the title – Ok. I’m doing the 3 Mistakes of my Life. High time.
6.  Book written by someone under 30 – Nowadays, aren’t they all?
7.  Book with nonhuman characters- Maybe Animal Farm again. No. Then what else? Hmmm?
8.  Funny book- I don’t get those H2G2 references that are considered so mainstream cool. I                   hope the book also gives me some laughs.
9.  Book by female author- Huh? Why? What’s so what about that? : The Dove’s Lament-Kirthi Jayakumar
10. Mystery or thriller- Two more in the Dublin Murder Squad series to go. Oh wait. There was         one more published last year.
11. Book with one-word title – Out. Been on my list for too long
12. Book of short stories – The Book of Other People. I’ve read that first story four times                     already.
13. Book set in a different country – In an Antique Land. Because just like that.
14. Nonfiction – Rajdeep’s Book. 2014 – The Election that Changed India. Been trolling the             guy too much on Twitter. I owe him this.
15. Popular author’s first book- Can’t think of any. Thinking. Thinking…
16. Book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet- Why is this so difficult to list?
17. Book a friend recommended –The Fountainhead. Let me see what makes Roark so loveable  Coraline- Neil Gaiman 
18. Pulitzer Prize-winning book –The Poisonwood Bible. Heard good things about it
19. Book based on true story- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Been on my to read           list for very long. Maybe the Japanese will get some sympathy from me again.
20.Book at bottom of your to-read list –Ponniyn Selvan. Got a Kindle compatible version. 21.               Hopefully, the bigger font will help me finish it
21. Book your mom loves – Can’t promise Ponniyin Selvan. So I’ll settle for The Old Man and the       Sea. 
22. Book that scares you – Should dare to pick up The Shining again. Or Salem’s Lot.
23. Book more than 100 years old- Tess of the D’Ubervilles. Really really need to finish it. My            tribute to Anastasia Steele
24. Book based on its cover- What is that proverb again?
25. Book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t – Lorna Doone. Someone drew a heart            and wrote Lorna Doone loves John Ridd in the school library book. The entire 9th standard                class was banned from the library that year and I never got to reading the book after that.
26. A memoir – I don’t like memoirs. So something. Anything.   Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II
27. Book you can finish in a day – Andaleeb’s next two. Back in Time and Only Time will Tell. Salvation of a Saint-Keigo Higashino
28. Book with antonyms in the title – Err… Let me think.
29. Book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – The Orphan Master’s Son. Maybe                    someday we’ll get a client in Kim Jong Land and I’ll get a chance to visit.
30. Book that came out the year you were born-  I’ll do something from the era. Nice try.
31. Book with bad reviews – Could do Half Girlfriend, but one C-book a year is my target.
32. A trilogy – The Taj Trilogy. On it, loving it.
33. Book from your childhood – Malory Towers. I have a few, will be nice to go to boarding                    school.
34. Book with a love triangle –  Should pick one at random. Maybe something where all three will            finally end up with three different persons.
35. Book set in the future – The Road. Reddit loves it. Let me see if I love it too.
36. Book set in high school- The Fault in our Stars or Twilight. (Are they set in high school?) Go Ask Alice
37. Book with color in the title – The Color Purple
38. Book that made you cry – That’s a toughie. Because I’m not sure if I’m capable of that anymore.
39. Book with magic- Err.. Harry Potter? Well, gotto deal with it sometime in my life
40. Graphic novel – Ugh. But why not.
41. Book by an author you’ve never read before – Amit Chaudhri. Though A Strange and Sublime             Address was highly recommended, I’ll read Freedom Song because I have it
42. Book you own but have never read – Plenty. I should do an inkypinkyponky and pick one.
43. Book that takes place in your hometown – Must get my hands on that Coonoor book. Or get                 down to writing my own.  Maybe not hometown, but place where I’ve lived. Fair enough. Aarushi by Avirook Sen
44. Book that was originally written in different language- Long time no Murakami. I’ll pick a                    random one. After Dark maybe. Lots of backlog to clear before I try his latest ( Checking off this item with One Part Woman)
45. Book set during Christmas –The Gift. But if it is something like PS I Love You, I’ll probably                hate it.
46. Book written by an author with your same initials- Gaaah. This is boring.
47. A play – I could dig out Julius Caesar from my schoolbook pile and read it again. That is the only        play I have ever read. But since I know My Fair Lady, I’ll try Pygmalion
48. A banned book – Will reattempt The Satanic Verses. Again.
49. Book based on or turned into a TV show – That Game of Thrones thingy? Wait. Maybe that’s too        ambitious. I think I’ll settle for Roots. Done with two GoT books. Huge. 
50. Book you started but never finished
 -That’s Atlas Shrugged. I’m doing it this year. I am I am I       am.